If you’re reading this, chances are you either have arthritis or know someone who does. There are many home remedies for arthritis, depending on the type you have.
According to Arthritis Australia, there are more than 100 types of arthritis. The 3 most common are:
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Gout (also known as gouty arthritis)
Most are characterised by joint pain, inflammation, and damage to joint cartilage. The end result being joint instability, deformity and a major impact on daily activities.
Without question, it’s one of the major causes of disability and chronic pain in our society.
The question is what can you do with home remedies to ease joint pain and inflammation?
Herbal Medicine for Arthritis Pain and Inflammation
While medical science has changed and advanced a lot over the years, many patients prefer to take a more natural approach to their treatment.
Many of those that suffer from the pain and stiffness of arthritis don’t want to use prescription or OTC medications to treat it, due to the added side effects.
There are several herbal medications available to those with arthritis who would rather use the natural method to treat their arthritis. However, it’s crucial not to make your choice blindly.
While several of these herbal medications have been used for centuries, it’s important to research and consult with your doctor. This is to ensure you’re getting the most out of your arthritis treatment.
The Science Behind Treating Arthritis with Herbal Meds
Recent studies have suggested that “natural remedies from fish oil to chili peppers” can help to reduce pain caused by arthritis.
Omega-3 fatty acids, for example, can help to reduce inflammation caused by arthritis with none of the side effects caused by the prescription treatment.
Omega-3 fatty acids have also shown to decrease the amount of NSAID someone with arthritis needs for treatment.
Choosing Your Herbal Medications: Knowing What to Look For
Anyone who has journeyed down their local grocery store’s supplement aisle, let alone a health food store, has seen the vast array of herbal medications readily available nowadays. However, that certainly doesn’t mean you can trust all of them.
The FDA isn’t involved with herbal medications like they are prescription and over-the-counter medications; they don’t require their approval before the supplements go to market.
According to the Assistant Professor of Pain Medicine at NYU Langone Medical Center, M. Fahad Khan, MD, MSPH, many patients neglect to tell doctors about herbal medications they’re taking. Patients neglect to tell doctors about herbal medications they’re taking, thinking it unimportant.
However, he says that “a lot of herbal supplements have side effects of their own ranging from GI upset to skin problems.
They can also interact with other medications you’re taking.” Withholding this information from your doctor could result in your experiencing adverse side effects that could have been easily avoided.
It’s important to take the time to research the herbal medication before buying it.
Examine the labels on all the supplements you consider trying. US Pharmacopeia, ConsumerLab.com, and NSF International all offer seals of approval for supplements that were:
- properly manufactured
- have only the ingredients listed on the label
- all listed on the label
- that they lack any harmful contaminants.
Here’s a few tips to help guide you through finding the right herbal medication for your arthritis:
Never hesitate to consult with a professional to help you find the right herbal medication for you. You can ask your doctor, pharmacist, dietician, or nutritionist about the right herbal medication to treat your arthritis, which brands you can trust, etc.
Be Wary of Marketing Schemes
As we said before, herbal medications aren’t regulated by the FDA like prescription medications. This means the companies that make the supplements can make any claims for what their supplements treat and the ingredients they contain.
Keep your guard up; if a supplement’s promised results or ingredients sound too good to be true, they likely are.
Read Labels Completely and Carefully
When looking at labels, be sure to search for the previously mentioned companies’ seals of approval.
You should also closely read the directions for usage. Many people operate under the misconception that herbal medications are harmless because they’re easily accessible without a prescription. As we said before, they can cause adverse side effects and react negatively with other medications you may be taking.
The natural home remedies that I recommend will vary depending on the type of arthritis. I’ve kept things simple, focusing on the remedies that are proven, safe to use and easy to source.
Hopefully, you already have some sitting in your kitchen cupboard awaiting addition to your herbal first-aid kit.
Gout (Gouty Arthritis)
Gout is caused by a buildup of urate crystals in the joint causing extreme pain. You need to both decrease the dietary intake of foods known to contribute to gout and increase the amount of uric acid excreted in your urine.
A really simple way to reduce recurrence of gout is to modify your diet. Lower your intake of the following Purine-rich foods:
- organ, glandular meat
- seafoods such as anchovies, herring, sardines, mussels, scallops, trout, haddock, mackerel and tuna (1)
You can also introduce daily teas of nettle leaf and celery seed and drink tart cherry juice every day.
Just make sure that your tart cherry juice is not sweetened. You might also want to increase your intake of fresh vegetables and plant-based proteins.
Apple cider vinegar and Hibiscus can also be useful.
|Nettle leaf (2)|| |
|Celery Seed (2)|| |
|Tart Cherry juice (3)||Drink unsweetened tart cherry juice daily. Studies recommend between 200 and 300ml per day.|
Osteoarthritis is a degenerative, ‘wear and tear’ condition arising from the breakdown of cartilage between joints.
- Nettle leaf works a little differently to the other herbs you can use to treat osteoarthritis
- Turmeric is anti-inflammatory and pain relieving. For a more in-depth look at the health benefits and dosages of turmeric check out this article
- Olive leaf extract was found to both reduce inflammation and improve the composition of joint tissue (4) Olive leaf capsules and liquid are easy to find in your local health food store.
- Rosemary is also a great pain reliever (5) you can pick the fresh leaves from your garden and brew it into a tea to drink on a daily basis. You can also use Rosemary essential oil externally
- ginger cayenne pepper .
Physical therapy can be useful here and you can ask your health practitioner for a referral
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is the most common type of inflammatory joint disease. Typically it is progressive, destructive and affects multiple joints in a symmetrical manner.
It is found throughout the world, but interestingly a higher proportion of those living in developed nations have a more severe and disabling disease.
RA is an autoimmune disease, where your immune system attacks healthy joint tissues that it normally would protect. The result is progressive tissue damage and deformity in the affected joints.
It’s also a disease that affects more than just the joints, its often accompanied by Raynaud’s phenomenon, osteoporosis, muscle weakness and a number of other diseases.
The onset of RA can be preceded by a number of symptoms such as weight loss, lethargy, myalgia (muscle pain) and fever.
If you suspect you may have RA, early intervention is recommended, so make sure you go and see your healthcare practitioner.
What does this mean for this mean for the management of RA? Luckily there are a number of different strategies that can be used at home, alongside any conventional treatment.
- Devils claw
- Fish Oil
- Mills and Bone
- Zhang, Y., Neogi, T., Chen, C., Chaisson, C., Hunter, D., & Choi, H. K. (2012). Cherry Consumption and the Risk of Recurrent Gout Attacks. Arthritis and Rheumatism, 64(12), 4004–4011. http://doi.org/10.1002/art.34677
- Dezheng Gong, Chengyan Geng, Liping Jiang, Lihui Wang, Hiroyuki Yoshimuram, and Laifu Zhong. Journal of Medicinal Food. February 2011, 14(3): 268-275. doi:10.1089/jmf.2010.1153.
- Battaglia, S (2005) The complete guide to Aromatherapy